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Catcher Austin Wynns showing he's not just here for the meal money

Sarasota,FL--2/16/18--Orioles' catchers, L-R Chance Sisco, Andrew Susac, Austin Wynns and Caleb Joseph, get ready for practice. Baltimore Orioles Spring Training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida. Lloyd Fox,Baltimore Sun Staff--_RM54419.JPG
Sarasota,FL--2/16/18--Orioles' catchers, L-R Chance Sisco, Andrew Susac, Austin Wynns and Caleb Joseph, get ready for practice. Baltimore Orioles Spring Training at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida. Lloyd Fox,Baltimore Sun Staff--_RM54419.JPG (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

SARASOTA, FLA. — Orioles catching prospect Austin Wynns is No. 3 or No. 4 on the current catching depth chart, but he really is in the running to be Caleb Joseph’s backup when the club breaks camp less than a month from now.

Wynns, whose seventh-inning homer on Saturday night salvaged a 1-1 exhibition tie for the still-winless Orioles against the Minnesota Trwins, and evoked some very complimentary comments from manager Buck Showalter.

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“I almost called that (home run).” Showalter said. “I was getting ready to call that one and I didn’t get it out of my mouth, so I don’t get credit for it.”

What Showalter likes about Wynns is his demeanor and his work ethic.

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“He doesn’t have to show you,’’ he said. “That’s what people like about him. He’s engaged all the time. You can tell he really loves what he’s doing and he’s not going to leave any stone unturned to try to make it happen.

“People like him. Pitchers like him, managers like him that he’s played for. And that comes from a lot of things he brings. He’s got a chance to be a real trustworthy player.”

Still, whether that means he jumps over top prospect Chance Sisco and more experienced Andrew Susac to earn the major league backup job remains to be seen. The O’s see Sisco as the catcher of the future, but Showalter puts a premium on defensive behind the plate and Sisco still has some developing to do in that area.

Obviously, the competition is on. The Orioles have a total of three home runs in the first three Grapefruit League games and all of them have been hit by their young catchers. Sisco hit a three-run shot in Friday’s attempted ninth-inning comeback. Audry Perez hit one against the Phillies in the first game of the split-squad Saturday. And Wynns launched a no-doubt shot to left field late Saturday night at Ed Smith Stadium.

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